18 Shake describes itself as a “luxury” meal replacement beverage. Not sure why it’s considered luxurious, but let’s find out if it works—luxury aside.
What Does 18 Shake Promise?
18 Shake says it is a luxury meal replacement made in the USA from all-natural ingredients. It has no soy, artificial sweeteners or any other harmful ingredients found in many meal replacement products. Also they say, 18 Shake is a gluten free product, its high quality dual-protein formula and fiber will naturally help to reduce hunger and lose weight fast. “We are so confident in our product that we will give you your money back if you do not see great results!” 
Okay, sounds good so far. What exactly is it?
18 Shake is the meal replacement shake made in the USA to deliver results in weight loss and for long-term health benefits. It’s the best and most convenient alternative for regular meals. Meal replacement diets have become popular because of their simplicity and lack of restrictions. There is no systematic calorie counting, weighing of food or constant checking of different tables and charts.
Many health experts highly recommend meal replacement diets for all those who want to see real results. 
I’ll check on that in a minute.
18 Shake says its secret is simple:
…a yummy meal replacement shake with everything you need to lose weight.
What makes a meal replacement shake so powerful is you don’t have to spend countless hours carefully selecting and prepping your meals. A delicious and healthy drink that contains fruits and protein only takes 2-3 minutes to prepare.
18 Shake makes you feel full and has only 90 calories per serving which is approximately 5-7 times fewer than a conventional dinner. A reduction of calorie intake is the main principle of every diet and it really works! You have the convenience of an easy to prep and even easier to enjoy mix of ingredients.
Simply replace one or two of your daily meals with 18 Shake. It has a large amount of nutrients needed by the body. This meal replacement work [sic] wonders by giving you all the nutrients and vitamins that a big meal would have, without any of the excessive calories, fats, carbohydrates, or sugars. 
That’s true: burn more calories than you consume and you lose weight.
18 Shake says that while there are a number of factors that determine your body weight and type (genetics, environment and what you eat, obviously) similarly, results will vary. But, they claim,
Some of our clients have lost 5 to 10 pounds per month, whereas others have lost over 30 pounds in a month simply by replacing two of their meals with a shake. 
18 Shake comes in powder form, which you blend with milk or almond milk. 18 Shake comes in two flavors: vanilla and chocolate. So not very exciting, but there are a number of recipes on the website, like the Blueberry Buster where you add fresh or frozen blueberries, or the Apple Pie Shake where you add a bit of applesauce and cinnamon. 
18 Shake and The Hunger
18 Shake claims their meal replacement shakes will keep you satisfied with just enough calories for the energy required to make it through the day.
Okay, wait. So if you replace two meals with the shake, that’s only 180 calories. Wow. So the one meal you do eat better be large, satiating, and super healthy, is all I am saying.
So I scroll down the page and here’s where they got my Irish up: 18 Shake says it’s 76 percent more effective if you use it with another supplement they sell: Sletrokor. This gives the impression, for me anyway, that the shakes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, if this Sletrokor stuff will make the shakes three times more effective.
18 Shake Unsubstantiated Claims
18 Shake says Sletrokor “has been endorsed by numerous medical professionals in recent years.” (We’ll see about that shortly.) 18 Shake says this supplement contains Gymnema sylvestre and Aloe Vera, which they claim is used to reduce weight, boost metabolism, burn fat, and prevent weight gain. 
Wow. That is a lot of claim. Maybe I’ll do a review on Sletrokor in the near future to test that.
So what do you get and how much is it? On the website it says there’s a 40-percent discount good for “today only” with the date, but, it had the same thing yesterday, with yesterday’s date. 
Ugh. Do these folks think we’re dummies?
How Much Does 18 Shake Cost?
In any event, this stuff is insanely expensive if I am reading this correctly—and by the way, you don’t know what you’re buying until you provide your name, address, phone number and email; not good—but it appears that one bag of the powder is $89.99. If you buy 2 for $179.98, you get one “free,” and if you buy three for $239.95, you get two free. Plus the ebook and a plastic shaker bottle. There are sixteen servings in one bag, so if you replace two meals a day the $90 bag will last just eight days—each powder packet for the shake runs just under six dollars a pop.
Oh, but you do get a “free” meal plan in the eBook that comes with it, so there’s that. I suppose the thinking is you’re replacing meals, which are already costly.
18 Shake Ingredients
Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate is Hard To Digest Stuff
Whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate are the key ingredients—fibrous stuff that fills you up and provides the protein you need. The whey is a non-genetically-modified organism (GMO) and is used instead of soy because soy proteins, 18 Shake says, can cause “potential dangers such as cancer and heart-related problems,” adding that nearly all the soy produced in the United States is GMO. Anyway, the whey protein requires your body to work harder to digest, metabolize, and use, “which means you burn more calories processing them comparing with standard meal.” They also claim since it hangs around in your stomach for awhile taking its time to dissipate, “you feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time.” 
Fibersol-2 is Soluble Corn Fiber. This Stuff Sounds so Engineered
In addition to the whey, 18 Shake contains Fibersol-2. I went hunting to see what this ingredient is all about because 18 Shake doesn’t tell you much, except it’s an awesome appetite suppressant that makes you feel full longer. Made by global giant Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) in collaboration with Matsutani Chemical Industry Co., Ltd., and Matsutani America, Inc., Fibersol-2 is a “soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent containing 90 percent dietary fiber.” 
Honestly, this stuff sounds so engineered to me. It’s the very last thing I want to put in my body, but you be the judge:
Fibersol®-2, digestion resistant maltodextrin, is a spray-dried powder produced by a proprietary method of controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch. It has numerous starch linkages that remain undigested by enzymes of the human digestive tract. It has been recognized as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration. 
Basically, it’s an engineered food product for use in all types of “beverages, processed foods, cultured dairy products, frozen dairy desserts, confections, dietary supplements and much more.” 
What About All the Vitamins and Minerals?
18 Shake also has a you-name-it list of vitamins and minerals—the majority of which satisfy just 2 to 30 percent of what’s needed daily for good health, so don’t be jumping up and down about the claim it’s packed with all the good stuff you need every day. Close, but no cigar.
Plus, 18 Shake claims that when you follow a calorie-restricted diet, the vitamins and minerals inside its product “can also increase your metabolism and actively increase your weight loss.” 
Quick Note about Slektrokor (The same company that makes 18 Shake)
A quick note about Sletrokor, which is made by the same company and is the supplement that 18 Shake says will make their meal replacement shakes “work 76 percent better.” I was furious when I went on the site to see a young woman who was already quite thin being used as a before-and-after; she lost 22 pounds and looks emaciated. It’s shocking to me they would not only post her images, but use them to advertise their product. Girls and young women—actually most women, for that matter—already struggle with weight and the challenges faced with body shaming and body consciousness; both can lead to anorexia and/or bulimia and other eating disorders. The fact that this company touts its product with photos of young women who are perhaps unhealthily thin is reprehensible.
Garcinia Cambogia and Aloe Vera
Anyway, this crap is packed with Garcinia cambogia (read my other reviews about this plant-based ingredient that may be dangerous for some), aloe vera—which is a great topical agent for bug bites and sunburn and the like but is dubious at best when ingested—and chitosan, which is contraindicated for use with a number of medications and is used as a compound prevent kidney failure. 
The Science Behind 18 Shake
As a rule, meal replacement shakes are generally accepted as safe as long as just one meal is replaced and you make sure you getting enough calories. You need at least 1200 a day, but with this product, which suggest you replace two meals, you get just 180 calories. You’d have to eat at least a 1000-calorie meal. But don’t take my word for it. 18 Shake claims “many health experts highly recommend meal replacement diets for all those who want to see real results.” 
Let’s go to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, who say that meal replacement diets must be nutritionally balanced, but “Balance is only possible if you also make healthy meal choices.” So that one meal should include whole grains, lean protein, lots of greens, healthy fats and healthy oils. 
Words of Knowledge from Licensed Dietitian
But registered and licensed dietitian Katherine Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic cautions people about meal replacement beverages for weight loss, saying they are no panacea. She says while makers often claim their products decrease body fat or promote weight loss, meal replacement protein shakes “aren’t a magic bullet for weight loss.” She says replacing meals will reduce caloric intake undoubtedly—and that in, and of itself, will have you losing weight—“but eventually you will need to start eating solid food again, which may cause excess weight to return.” She cautions people should not become dependent on meal replacement shakes, and says that exercise and healthy eating are integral to doing any meal replacement diet.
The average adult needs 46 to 56 grams of protein a day, depending on weight and overall health. As long as you’re eating a healthy diet, adding extra protein — either through protein shakes or other sources — isn’t necessary. Remember, the key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. Choose healthy foods — such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein — and include physical activity in your daily routine. 
18 Shake Reviews
How about 18 Shake reviews? On the 18 Shake website there are plenty of testimonials with before-and-after pictures. Some look impressive, but I rarely rely on a product’s own user reviews; they may not be authentic. I’m not accusing 18 Shake of subterfuge; every company does it—shares all kinds of video and written reviews and testimonials. I discount them however, and look elsewhere.
With just 32 reviews on Amazon, 18 Shake received a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. 
18 Shake 5 Star Review
Reviewer “Wahib Joseph Wehbe” (2017, 5 stars) was a big fan who says,
I did a lot of research on meal replacement shakes before I settled on 18 Shake. I picked it because I read a ton of good reviews about it from different websites that said it can help with weight loss. I didn’t want just a protein based drink, I was looking for something that could replace my meals fully, a shake that wasn’t just a snack. I’ve used both their chocolate and vanilla flavor, both mix quite well with different liquids and some ice cubes. Love the flavor and the fact I can drink it for breakfast and lunch without being hungry after I finish. Can’t recommend 18 Shake enough, with it I’ve been able to suppress my appetite. 
Another 5 Star Review
And the 5-star reviews keep coming: “Alena” (2017) loves 18 Shake and she says she knows shakes:
I’ve been buying 18 shake for a long time. This is my favorite meal replacement and I’ve tried a lot of different brands. It helped me to lose 17 pounds so far! One shake keeps me full for 3-4 hours. I usually mix it with fruits and almond milk. 
18 Shake 4 Star Review
And “Carol Hogan” (2017, 4 stars) lost quite a bit of weight:
It’s delicious. I have lost 17lbs in 2 weeks having 2 shakes a day, lots of water, and 1 not sensible meal (so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything) on my second 3 pack first was chocolate this one vanilla, and they both are great. 
But she was less than thrilled with the super high cost.
Took one star off for the ridiculous price. I can’t afford to keep ordering this and I am going to look for a more affordable shake when this runs out. 
With so much glowing praise, it’s curious that many people were very disappointed, like reviewer “SKJC,” (2016, 2 stars) who says 18 Shake
“Doesn’t curb my appetite. Mediocre taste. Extremely expensive. I won’t be purchasing this product again.” 
18 Shake on SparkPeople.com
SparkPeople.com is often a good go-to for reviews from real people who diet. And diet some more. A frequent contributor is “Dietician Becky,” who identifies herself as a registered dietitian. Regarding meal replacements—especially shakes—and on the 18 Shake thread, she offers this advice (2014 comment):
Meal Replacements have been shown through extensive research to be a benefit to weight loss. It is one tool to help lower calorie intake and control food portions. When selecting a meal replacement (shake, entrée, soup, cereal) here are some very general guidelines:
10-20 grams protein
15-45 grams of carbohydrate
20-30% of a variety of vitamins and minerals.
The plan (or clinic) should also include education so one learns how to control portions, plan meals and menus, incorporate healthy cooking techniques, etc. If one does not learn life-management skills; one will probably regain the weight that was lost.
The meal replacement should also taste good and fit into your food budget. 
18 Shake misses the boat on most. Commenter “JCOW84” (2014 comment) says she was put off by the 18 Shake marketing:
Actually, I just went to the 18 Shake website and it looks like an expensive scam—you could easily make your own smoothie. I agree with the (person) who said it’s better to make your own so then you know what’s in it. When I tried to look at the nutritional info on 18 Shake, it came up in teeny, blurry writing. Not a good sign! 
But “Tricia33” was pleased, to date, with 18 Shake: “I have the 18 Shake. They are good as far as protein shakes go and they are sweetened with Stevia, no artificial sweetener. They do keep me full for a few hours. I just got them so I’m not sure what results I will get.” 
18 Shake on Facebook
Finally, let’s look at the 18 Shake Facebook page. Here, while they could conceivably delete comments and posts, I saw many, many thumbs-down folks sharing experiences, but there were positive ones, too—though on the timeline, as you might expect, 18 Shake raves about their product. And with more than 20,000 followers, 18 Shake must be doing something right. 
“18 Shake is Expensive and Ineffective”
Two perspectives, first from “Suzanne Livett” who posted just last week (Aug 2017):
18 Shake is expensive and ineffective. I’m onto my second packet and lost zero while on the first packet. The only reason I still use it is because it’s too late to return it. It guarantees to keep you full for 2 hrs but I’ve never gotten beyond 1 hr 15 mins without being hungry – and not just a little hungry, I mean stomach-grumbling hungry. I’ve lost weight by going to the gym and watching how many calories I eat, not by using 18 Shake. Overpriced and overrated. 
“Sherrie Fear” (June 2017) says, “I’ve lost weight with 18 shakes no exercise and i am loving it.” 
Is 18 Shake Worth a Try?
Risky. I’m not opposed to meal replacement shakes. In fact, I think replacing a meal with a nutritious smoothie or shake, if it’s full of nutrition and whole foods, can be a great way to lose a little weight.
What I am not a fan of is the bait-and-switch with this product. It just feels so shady. Why not tell me right up front what it costs? Why not say, yeah, it’s expensive, but it’s full of good stuff? Which I’m not convinced it is, but anyway. I am not a fan of those kind of tactics. But I suppose they know exactly what they are doing: they got my email, didn’t they? I had to submit that, plus name, address and phone number—which was all bogus, by the way, though the email was correct. I’ll just unsubscribe, since I already have three emails from them!
There are a lot of ways to do meal replacements and do it at home with your own stuff. Fruits, vegetables, yogurt, almond milk; throw in some flax or chia seeds, and you’re all set. And if you’re hungry throughout the day, munch on fruits and veggies. This isn’t astrophysics, people. But if you just don’t have time and want to get that protein and nutrition in a meal replacement beverage, there are quite a few on the market that are less expensive and just as good, if not better.
Plus, that whole engineered corn food fiber stuff? No way.
Top 5 Diets in 2018
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*Individual results will vary.